By Megan Kelley
Lake Orion resident and vice president of the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education, Birgit McQuiston was elected to the Michigan Association of School Boards Board of Directors last month.
During their meeting in February the LOCS board cast their vote for McQuiston in the Region eight election with the understanding that the votes will be tallied in March.
McQuiston had previously run for MASB Board of Directors in 2019 but did not win the election. However, her drive did not dissipate and when the opportunity presented itself again, McQuiston was ready to try again.
“My goal in running again was to serve as a visible, accessible and innovative director; something I haven’t seen from our past representatives. But I am also interested in maintaining the integrity of the work of my Board of Education and therefore I also have a passion for the work of other boards, whether it is in our county, or our region or our state,” McQuiston said. “I am concerned that Boards of Education often get overlooked in the realm of politics. I want to help preserve the integrity of the work that we do. That being said, I have a passion for advocating for our students but also for helping boards be the best they can be.”
The role of the MASB Board of Directors is rather straightforward. The 22-member board establishes operating policies for the MASB and appoints an executive director to oversee the daily operations (similar to when local school boards appoint a superintendent).
“We oversee the activities of MASB and most importantly, I feel, is we speak for school boards between meetings of the delegate assembly,” McQuiston said. “So, when local school boards represent students in the community, on the state level on a board of directors, we represent boards.”
Three years ago, McQuiston was elected to the Oakland County School Boards Association of Directors and has since been elected secretary. She believes that her experience is what will allow her to bring forward a new and improved style of leadership.
“Leadership always starts from the top down, right? In a school district, that begins with the Board of Education. So, I want to help empower trustees to connect and collaborate, get along and encourage each other,” said McQuiston. “We all know this past year has shown us that distance is not a problem when it comes to meetings and Zoom can be used as a foundation for incredible learning and leading opportunities, though – in-person is always better. I have a passion for helping MASB move forward with dynamic leadership opportunities and innovative leadership development.”
The elected position to the MASB Board of Directors is one that can often give space to topics that are unique to certain areas and as a member of both the LOCS Board of Education and the OCSBA, McQuiston has an opportunity to bring those topics to the table.
“Districts in Oakland County are very diverse in their needs and their population and that’s why my role on the Oakland County School Boards Association of Directors is unique because I have a feel for what that is.” McQuiston said. “There’s not a one size fits all in this for school districts and the voice at the table for the needs and advocating for districts and students need to have a broad representation and I feel like I bring that to the table.”
McQuiston will serve as the Region eight representative for a three-year term and is happy to have been elected to serve the state in this capacity.
“I love what I do and I’ve broadened my horizons. I keep telling people that I’m a full-time professional volunteer,” McQuiston said. “I really enjoy what I do. I love working with trustees. I love advocating for students and for school boards and that might sound interesting given the climate right now, it’s so difficult, but this work is very rewarding and I enjoy doing it.”